Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In other words, the trajectory is very bad?

Some Q and A clipped from the United Methodists Don House: Q&A: Why we don’t have much time to save UMC
What’s your biggest concern about things as they stand?

We should have a sense of urgency over the decline in our church in the US. The clock is ticking, and we will not be able to fund the general church structure, as we know it, much longer. And the only way in which we can avoid that is local church growth in the United States, because that’s where most funds originate to support the operations.

If you don’t find a way in which you can turn this around and spur local church growth, all of this debating about structure will become a side conversation that’s not terribly important.

Over the past 20 years, local church growth has not been our central focus. For a time, perhaps ten or 15 years, local church growth must be the central focus, even at the expense of other ministries. With sufficient growth, we can more fully attend to these other ministries that we so deeply care about. But unless we get this ship moving, and in the right direction, these other ministries will be going down through budget cuts—not from a lack of passion.

In other words, the trajectory is very bad?

The Economic Advisory Committee to GCFA is projecting for the very first time, essentially, no future growth in dollars received in our local churches in the US. The absence of growth in local church dollars has never happened before. These dollars have always been growing, even in the presence of membership decline. It is during this next quadrennium that we expect to hit the plateau. And that’s nominal dollars, not inflation-adjusted dollars. If the trend continues, it will turn downward.

When it turns downward, and it will if we do not change course quickly, we’ll no longer have the ability to collect the dollars necessary to try to turn this around. You won’t have the capacity to do it. But we still have time, I think, if we can all get behind the same objective, and that is to grow the local church. With growth, we ensure the future of mission and ministry at levels that make a difference in our communities and throughout the world.

1 comment:

Robin Edgar said...


According to these official United Methodist Church statistics the United Methodist Church could lose 8 million members and still have a couple of hundred thousand members more than the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. . . This does not bode well at all for Unitarian Universalism AFA*I*AC. One wonders what Rev. Peter Morales was smoking when he came of with his campaign slogan -

"We *can* be *the* religion for our time."

WVC = stormi